Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
BENNINGTON, Vt. – The Elms College baseball team cruised to a pair of victories over host Southern Vermont College in a New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) twinbill at Bill Epstein Field Saturday afternoon. The Blazers slugged past the Mountaineers, 17-1, in the opener, and then picked up a 3-1 victory in the nightcap.
Game 1: Elms 17, Southern Vermont 1
The Blazers got on the board quickly in the opener as senior Aedin Wadja (Lebanon, Conn.) drew a leadoff walk, and then classmate Stephen Harrison (Southbury, Conn.) launched a two-run home run over the right field fence to stake Elms to a 2-0 lead.
In the top of the second, sophomore Alex Hoss (Stafford Springs, Conn.) walked to kick off the inning, followed by a single from junior Ben Ross (Thompson, Conn.). Wadja moved the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt, and then Harrison brought home Hoss and Ross with a two-run single to centerfield. After a pair of walks loaded the bases, senior Tim Gelzinis (North Dighton, Mass.) laced an RBI single into right-centerfield to push Elms ahead 5-0. Senior Brian Hungerford (New Preston, Conn.) delivered an RBI fielder's choice, followed by an RBI single from senior Dan Brunetti (Enfield, Conn.) to extend the gap to 7-0 after two innings.
The Blazers offense kept churning in the top of the fourth as singles from Hungerford and Brunetti helped load the bases for Elms. Ross and Harrison knocked RBI singles, followed by a two-run single from senior Jordan Zima (Berlin, Conn.) to extend the lead to 11-0. Gelzinis and Hungerford tacked on RBI singles to cap off the six-run inning, building a 13-0 lead.
The lone run for the Mountaineers came in the bottom of the fifth by way of a solo home run from sophomore Dan Mason (Bloomingdale, N.J.). Harrison struck again for the Blazers in the top of the sixth, swatting a three-run home run to right field, and then senior Joe Tonon (Bristol, Conn.) drew an RBI base on balls in the seventh to send Elms to the 17-1 win.
Harrison had a career game, matching program single-game records for hits (5), runs (4), home runs (2) and runs batted in (8). Gelzinis went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, while Zima drove in a pair of runs and scored twice. Brunetti, Ross, and Hungerford each added two hits in the win. Elms sophomore Thomas Owens (3-2; Enfield, Conn.) claimed the win, allowing one run on four hits with a season-high eight strikeouts.
Game 2: Elms 3, Southern Vermont 1
After four scoreless innings opened play in the nightcap, the Blazers cracked the scoreboard as Ross came home on a two-out RBI double from Wadja. Wadja moved to third on a wild pitch, and then scored on an RBI single to left field by Zima, staking Elms to a 2-0 lead.
The Blazers added to their advantage in the top of the sixth with Gelzinis scampering home on a sacrifice fly by Hoss. The Mountaineers plated their lone run of the contest in the home half of the seventh on a two-out RBI groundout from Joseph Braim (Schuylerville, N.Y.), but Gelzinis forced a pop out to end the game and lock up the 3-1 win.
Wadja and Zima logged two hits and an RBI each. Elms senior Kyle Platner (3-1; Northfield, Mass.) limited the Mountaineers to one hits in six scoreless innings with a season-high six strikeouts.
Freshman Noah Dubois (Barrington, N.H.) paced the Mountaineers with two of the team's three hits. Classmate Tyler Graham (1-6; Amsterdam, N.Y.) was saddled with the loss in a complete game effort, surrendering three runs on eight hits with three strikeouts.
The Blazers and Mountaineers will be back on the diamond for the series finale at MacKenzie Stadium Sunday at Noon.